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"Saltier" redirects here. For other uses, see .

Not to be confused with , , , or .

Saint Andrew's Cross. Often informally referred to as "the Saltire"

A saltire, also called Saint Andrew's Cross or the crux decussata, is a symbol in the form of a diagonal , like the shape of the letter X in . The word comes from the sautoir (""), possibly owing to the shape of the triangular areas in the design.

It appears in numerous , including those of and , and other and . A variant, also appearing on many past and present flags and symbols, is the .

A warning sign in the shape of a saltire is also used to indicate the point at which a at a level crossing.

In Unicode, the cross is encoded at U+2613 ☓ saltire (HTML ☓). See for similar symbols that might be more accessible.


Heraldry and vexillology[]

The saltire is one of the classic , geometric that span throughout (from edge to edge of) the shield.

When two or more saltires appear, they are usually as (cut off). For example, contrast the single saltire in the arms granted to G. M. W. Anderson—with the three saltires couped in the coat of Kemble Greenwood.

forms include the fillet saltire, usually considered half or less the width of the saltire, and the saltorel, a narrow or couped saltire.

A field (party) per saltire is divided into four areas by a saltire-shaped "cut". If two are specified, the first refers to the areas above (in chief) and below (in base) the crossing, and the second refers to the ones on either side (in the flanks). Otherwise, each of the four divisions may be blazoned separately.

The phrase in saltire or saltirewise is used in two ways:

  1. Two long narrow charges "in saltire" are placed to cross each other diagonally. Common forms include the crossed found in the arms of many entities associated with and paired arrows.
  2. When five or more compact charges are "in saltire", they are arranged with one in the center and the others along the arms of an invisible saltire.

There are numerous significant heraldric and uses of the saltire:


The , called The Saltire or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a blue field with a white saltire. According to tradition, it represents , who is supposed to have been crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata) at , .

The Saint Andrew's Cross was worn as a badge on hats in Scotland, on the day of the of Saint Andrew.

In the , both the and use stylised saltires as their party logos, deriving from the flag of Scotland.

Prior to the the used a incorporating the St Andrew's Cross; this ensign is now sometimes flown as part of an unofficial in . With its colours exchanged (and a lighter blue), the same design forms part of the and of (whose name means "New Scotland").

Cross of Burgundy[]

The , a form of the Saint Andrew's Cross, is used in numerous flags across and the . It was first used in the 15th century as an emblem by the . The , forming a large part of eastern and the , was inherited by the on the extinction of the Valois ducal line. The emblem was therefore assumed by the monarchs of as a consequence of the Habsburgs bringing together, in the early 16th century, their Burgundian inheritance with the other extensive possessions it inherited throughout and the , including the crowns of and . As a result, the Cross of Burgundy has appeared in a wide variety of flags connected with territories formerly part of the Burgundian or Habsburg inheritance. Examples of such diversity include the Spanish naval ensign (1506-1701), the flag of (the nineteenth century Spanish conservative movement), the flag of the Dutch capital of and municipality of and the flag of in Bolivia.

Maritime flags[]

The naval of the (1696–1917) and navies (1991–present) is a blue saltire on a white field.

The for M is a white saltire on a blue background, and indicates a stopped vessel. A red saltire on a white background denotes the letter V and the message "I require assistance".


The Brazilian cities of and also use a blue saltire on a white field, with their coats-of-arms at the hub. The flags of the Spanish island of and the remote Colombian islands of also use a white saltire on a blue field.

Saltires are also seen in several other flags, including the flags of , , , , , , , , , , and , as well as the former Indian of , and .

The design is also part of the and used during the (see ). Arthur L. Rogers, designer of the final version of the Confederate National flag, claimed that it was based off the saltire of Scotland.

Christian symbol[]

Saint Andrew on saltire

The saltire appears on that are represented consistently on coinage of Christian emperors of Rome, beginning in the fourth century. Anne Roes found it on coins of , , , , , , , , , and , though she searched only coins at the . In the ninth and tenth century the saltire was revived in Constantinople as a symbol of .[]

Anne Roes detected the symbol, which often appears with balls in the quadrants formed by the arms of the -cross, in standards that appear on the coins of . She suggested that early Christians endorsed its as appropriate to . She also wrote: "although it cannot be proved, ... in the white saltire of St. Andrew we still have a reminiscence of the old standard of the Persepolitan kingdom".

Other saltires[]

Chemical hazard


In the old European Union standard, a black saltire set in an orange square is the hazard symbol for irritants (Xi) or harmful chemicals (Xn). It indicates a hazard less severe than , used for , or the sign.

The trademark of X-Radium stoneware, a patented cooking ware produced in the early 1900s by F. H. Griswold, was an X with radiating lines.

The has a saltire to symbolize (as the ) the 1750 debasement of the coinage, from 9 to 10 thalers to the Vienna mark (a weight of silver).


Railway crossing,

A saltire is the conventional used to indicate the point at which a railway line intersects a road at a , called a "" in this context. A white saltire on a blue background (or black on yellow for temporary signs) is displayed in as a "cancelling indicator" for the (AWS), informing the driver that the received warning can be disregarded.

In , a red "X" placed on illegally constructed buildings scheduled for demolition is occasionally referred to as a "St Andrew's Cross". It is usually accompanied by the letters "A.D." ("à détruire"—French for "to be demolished") and a date or deadline. During a campaign of urban renewal by the Urban Council in Cameroon, the cross was popularly referred to as "Tsimi's Cross" after the Government Delegate to Yaoundé Urban Council .

Timber saltire, Germany

Physical objects[]

In a pair of crossing braces is called both a saltire and St. Andrews Cross. Half-timbering, particularly in France and Germany, has patterns of framing members forming many different symbols known as ornamental bracing.

A similarly-constructed is also known as a St. Andrew's Cross or saltire. It is used in for splaying out a person, not unlike the of .


  • Coat of arms of with Sugar Cane held in saltire.

  • Auto racing disqualification flag. Also flag of the Russian Civil War White Army (Gen. Markov Regiment)

  • Flag of the village of

  • Flag of the municipality

  • Flag of

  • Flag of

  • Flag of

  • Flag of

  • Flag of

  • A blue-and-white saltire used on a road sign to represent the .

  • Flag of the former Indian princely state of

See also[]

  1. Or on a saltire engrailed Azure two quill pens in saltire Argent enfiling a Loyalist military coronet Or
  2. Sable a chevron Erminois cotised between three saltires couped Or
  3. The coat of the South African National Cultural and Open-air Museum: Or; an ogress charged with a fillet saltire surmounted by an eight spoked wheel or, and ensigned of a billet sable; a chief nowy gabled, Sable
  4. The coat of the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council: Per saltire Vert and Or four Fers de Moline counterchanged in fess point a Fountain.
  5. Suffolk County Council's Gules a Base barry wavy enarched Argent and Azure issuant therefrom a Sunburst in chief two Ancient Crowns enfiled by a pair of Arrows in saltire points downwards all Or
  6. Winchester City Council: Gules five castles triple towered, in saltire, argent, masoned proper the portcullis of each part-raised, or, and on either side of the castle in fess point a lion passant guardant that to the dexter contourny Or
  7. The arms of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Argent; a quarter azure charged with nine cross crosslets in saltire argent, overall a cross gules


  1. . Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. Retrieved July 24, 2018
  2. . Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved March 2016.
  3. . 2005-07-28. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  4. . 2005-07-28. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  5. . Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  6. . Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  7. . Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  8. Coski, John M. (2005). The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem. United States of America: First Harvard University Press. pp. 17–18.  . 
  9. Anne Roes, "An Iranian standard used as a Christian symbol", The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 57.2 (1937), pp. 248–51
  10. Roes 1937:251.
  11. December 17, 2008, at the .
  12. Hansen, Hans Jürgen, and Arne Berg. Architecture in wood; a history of wood building and its techniques in Europe and North America.. New York: Viking Press, 1971. Print.
  13. Rudolf Huber and Renate Rieth, Glossarium Artis, 10, Holzbaukunst - Architecture en Bois - Architecture in Wood. Munich, Germany: Saur. 1997. 55.  
  14. ^ Álvarez Abeilhé, Juan. La bandera de España. El origen militar de los símbolos de España. Revista de historia militar Año LIV (2010). Núm extraord. Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa.  . PP. 37-69.

External links[]

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